ProFacts: Eat More Freely

We built ProFacts to improve quality of life for people living with Celiac Disease by leveraging genetic science and combining it with crowdsourced data.

Tara Parker-Essig
2 min readMar 30, 2017


Project Overview

Goal: To develop an app to help people with Celiac Disease eat more freely.

Background: Our team met at a hackathon hosted by the UC Davis computer science department. After speaking with a local resident with Celiac Disease named Lisa, our team lead Alex Godbout got the idea for an app that would help her and others like her. He had the biomedical engineering background to make it happen, and I was excited to work with a team trying to improve people’s’ lives.

Challenges: In researching potential competitors I found there weren’t yet services like Alex’s idea. Profacts (short for Protein Facts) would have to be a hybrid of current allergy self-help forums and apps like Yelp or Foursquare.

Methods: I began by examining the mobile apps of Yelp and Foursquare. I created user flow maps that helped me notice and understand user’s needs without spending a cent of our budget. Once I had sufficiently reverse-engineered the Yelp iOS app, I could take my own ProFacts sketches and begin designing page mockups and building a prototype.

Results: While Alex now works at another startup and I have returned to school, the carefully-considered concepts and prototypes we built for ProFacts won us several sources of funding and additional support and training from both the UC Davis Department of Engineering and Graduate School of Management.